Texas adoption bill OK's rejection of non-Christian parents

"It's a defensive mechanism to say, 'Hey, not everybody has to think the same, '" the bill's author, Republican Rep. James Frank said.

"Say you call an agency and say, 'I'm Jewish, ' and it's a Catholic agency and they hang up on you", Suzanne Bryant, an adoption attorney, told CBS.

"We simply can not afford to turn away any loving families who are willing and able to welcome vulnerable children into their homes", the organization stated, noting that 22,000 Texas children are now waiting for placement. Adoption experts say that the bill could require children in the foster care system to adhere to faith-based requirements and doesn't set up an alternative system for parents turned away by adoption agencies.

Democrats and civil rights groups said the bill could allow private, faith-based foster care agencies to block parents who practice a different religion or who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

But Rebecca Robertson, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas' legislative and policy director, said the state - whose only faith providers are Christian - is lacking in such options.She would not address the ACLU's plan to fight the law if it passes, but said she is now focused on "trying to keep a bad bill from passing".

In the Austin, Texas, soon the petition of seeking for adoption by childless couples could be rejected by various public or private agencies, and the main objections will be of religious objective, which includes of one being Jewish, Muslim, interfaith, or being gay couples.

Similar laws have been passed in five other states, but Texas' proposal, modeled after a South Dakota law, would extend to state-funded agencies.

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The bill also blatantly violates the Constitution, Oakley added.

HB 3859 allows the state foster care system to invoke the religious beliefs of the state's child placement agencies, including those funded by federal government, when placing children in foster or adoptive care.

Burke said proposed laws like HB 3859 show that Texas Republicans - who control both the state legislature and the governor's mansion - have "become more emboldened" since the election of President Trump. Such actions include denying funding, canceling contracts, and declining licensure, for example. It would allow state contractors who provide child welfare services to discriminate against qualified same-sex couples who want to adopt.

Every foster child deserves a loving and caring forever home. "As a mother, it's infuriating to see anti-LGBTQ politicians do literally anything, including harming a child's future, to drive their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ political agendas forward". HB 3859 does exactly the opposite. The bill could keep them from being sued. Agencies say they hope it will shield them from lawsuits.

Abbott has declared fixing child protective services a priority in the face of rising investigator caseloads and child deaths.

The bill had been scheduled for debate and approval Saturday in the state House, but lawmakers bogged down with other matters.

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